Training Camp Notes: July 31

Training Camp Notes: July 31

This article is part of our Training Camp Notes series.

Friday's news didn't bring any big-name opt outs, so let's just go straight to the news blurbs.

  • Antonio Brown was issued an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. The news removes ambiguity about his disciplinary status with the league, but it's not clear whether his disciplinary standing ever had much to do with his status as a free agent. Now 32 and out of the league last year except for Week 1, Brown's conduct is probably less a PR concern and more an issue with his ability to behave as a teammate. Then again, injuries and COVID complications could lead a team to be more desperate at wide receiver than any were upon Brown's release after his one game with the Patriots.
  • Will Fuller (groin) was declared fully healthy by coach Bill O'Brien, in which case the former Notre Dame star should be in position to take over as Houston's WR1. Immensely explosive before and after the catch both, Fuller has shown an easy rapport with Deshaun Watson and could provide a breakout presence with DeAndre Hopkins now in Arizona. Then again, the absence of Hopkins might make it tougher for Fuller to get open in the past. He'll in any case compete for usage alongside fellow competent receivers Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb.
  • Evan Engram (foot) is not yet fully recovered from the Lisfranc injury that ended his 2019 season after Week 9. Coach Joe Judge said that while Engram is participating in workouts to some extent, he might be eased into proper training camp reps. Uniquely explosive at tight end when healthy, hopefully Engram can regain his convincing prior form in a hurry.
  • Antonio Gibson has been studying both running back and wide receiver functions in new offensive coordinator Scott Turner's offense, earning effusive praise from running backs coach Randy Jordan for his focus and learning ability. Gibson was a slow starter at Memphis, where he basically didn't play as a junior and only saw 33 carries as a senior, but he appears to be in position for a fast start in the NFL. Even if Derrius Guice runs wild, Gibson could pick up most or all of the passing down slack at running back, and he could contribute snaps in Washington's thin wide receiver rotation when Guice is lined up at running back. Even with the short offseason working against him, it's difficult to deny the athleticism and skill set similarities between Gibson and David Johnson.
  • Juan Thornhill (knee) should prove a standout free safety for the Chiefs in the upcoming years, but he's at risk of beginning the 2020 season on the PUP list due to the ACL tear he suffered in Week 17 of his otherwise promising rookie season.
  • Jayron Kearse was suspended three games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. A giant at safety (6-4, 216), Kearse played well in his brief time serving as the injury replacement at slot corner for Minnesota last year. His eventual debut in Detroit will offer Matt Patricia versatility in the secondary.
  • Jeremy Hill is expected to join the Raiders imminently, in which case he'll compete against Devontae Booker for a roster spot behind locks Josh Jacobs, Lynn Bowden, and Jalen Richard. It's possible that the Raiders are mostly bringing him in to learn the playbook so that he might be useful as an in-season callup later. Many teams might consider such practices given the unprecedented disruptive threat posed by the COVID pandemic.
  • Seventh-round rookie pick Raymond Calais was added to Tampa Bay's COVID reserve list, where he joins fellow rookie running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn. It's anyone's guess what the situation is with either player, but it's possible that their circumstances played some role in Tampa Bay's decision to sign LeSean McCoy to a one-year deal Thursday.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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